Most bands time their tours to start after the new record hits the stores but for whatever reason Chicago trio Dehd was pretty much wrapping up theirs when Blue Skies dropped, with only the last Chicago date after Boston’s to let fans get familiar with it. (Don’t fret – you’ll get another chance to see them this year at Royale). Emily Kempf commanded the stage with a take-no-shit presence but not in an aggressive, glowering way – she just came across as one who is unafraid to speak her mind, and her dusky, lower register vocals helped propel the songs. She spoke favorably of the city – “Boston, I’m kinda smitten. I don’t know what you put in the water but it’s working.” The rest of the band is an updated strain of lo-fi bedroom pop, via the Velvets; it wouldn’t be a stretch to think they’re familiar with bands like Veronica Falls or perhaps Comet Gain or Boyracer . While Eric McGrady beats out a simple pattern standing behind his cymbal-less and minimal drum kit, guitarist Jason Balla darts around every square inch of his side of the stage, wildly gyrating, taking extended steps like he’s an initiate of The Ministry of Silly Walks, all the while playing a neon green guitar that looks like a cast-off from a Poison tribute band.
Openers 81355 (aka “Bless” if you look at the numbers with the right eyes) were an interesting mix of hip-hop and rock, the six piece band featuring two vocalists who were constantly on the move, a deft rhythm section and a guitarist and keyboardist that filled in textures as needed. This was their final date on the tour and were invited up on stage to share some bedlam for the encore “Desire,” with Dehd’s touring crew also up there, piggy-backing around the sparse extra room, snapping photos, and generally enjoying the last bits of a tour. You have a few months to get acquainted with their new record so mark October 25th on the calendar.